What Exactly Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling has been growing in popularity with those in “natural” circles for some time now as a viable method to cleanse the mouth, reduce plaque and preserve overall oral hygiene. Using a generous spoonful of coconut or sesame oil, patients are encouraged to gently swish the oil in their mouth for 20 minutes a day to get the desired results. After this, the oil is spat out and discarded in a refuse bin to prevent sinks from clogging up. Oil pulling is best practised before eating or drinking anything in the morning and is followed by a thorough rinse of the mouth with warm water and a gentle brushing of the teeth.

Image Credit

The world’s Oldest Natural Mouth Wash?

While coconut oil is well known for its antimicrobial properties, there aren’t enough scientific and clinical findings available to validate the efficacy of oil pulling. The practice is seen as controversial and comes with a fair amount of scepticism . Dr. Amala Guha, founding president of the International Society for Ayurveda and Health, does recommends the practice, however, which is believed to be thousands of years old. It’s a ‘natural mouthwash’ originally rooted in Ayurvedic medicine from India. It is believed to have been practised to help strengthen patients’ teeth by preventing dental decay, whitening teeth and reversing oral diseases such as gingivitis, as well as having other skin and body detoxifying benefits. If the correct cleansing protocol is not carefully observed, patients are susceptible to negative side affects like dry mouth, muscle stiffness in the jaws and even loss or sensation in the mouth.

Image Credit


Testimonials from patients following the practice for just two weeks say they appear to have smoother and more polished teeth. What is consistently difficult for those experimenting with this method of oral cleansing is the 20-minute time commitment required daily, which for some is simply undesirable and unsustainable.

Many practices specialising in general dentistry in Leicester, such as sjrdental, do not typically include oil pulling in their portfolio of services. While few practices would formally endorse oil pulling, some practitioners do view it as an effective and natural alternative to mouthwash.

Traditional methods of oral care such as daily brushing and flossing of teeth complemented by regular dental check-ups are still recommended to maintain excellent oral health.